Physics Institute, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Candidate for International Councillor
Belita Koiller is a Professor of Physics at the Instituto de Fisica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) , Brazil. Belita Koiller received her PhD in Physics in 1975, at University of California - Berkeley, where she worked in theoretical Condensed Matter Physics under the supervision of Leo Falicov. She returned to Brazil upon completing her Ph.D., starting her professional activities at the Physics Department of the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC/RJ) where, in 1992, she was appointed Full Professor. She left PUC/RJ in 1994 to become Full Professor of the Physics Institute at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), where she remains to the present. Both at PUC/RJ and at UFRJ, she is active in teaching, research, academic supervision of students and post-docs, administration and scientific community support. At PUC/RJ, she was Chair of the Physics Department in 1983/1984. She was elected three times as a General Councilor of the Brazilian Physical Society, for the 4-year periods starting in 1993, 1999 and 2005. She participated in, and also organized several national and international scientific events. In 2008 she chaired the 29th International Conference on the Physics of Semiconductors, held in Rio de Janeiro and sponsored by IUPAP.
Belita Koiller is a Condensed Matter Theorist, and has contributed to the understanding of the properties of disordered solids, particularly disordered chains and semiconductor alloys. More recently, she has been interested in quantum control of individual electron’s spin and charge in semiconductors, aiming at applications in quantum information and quantum computing.
She has had long-term past and present collaborations with several scientific institutions in Brazil and abroad. Specifically in the United States, with UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University and the Condensed Matter Theory Center at the University of Maryland. She promotes visits to Brazilian institutions by distinguished international scientists. She was in the Editorial Board of Applied Physics Letters and Journal of Applied Physics for three years, starting 2006.
Belita Koiller received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982, and she has been a research fellow of the Brazilian National Research Council since 1985. In 1995 she was the first woman to be elected a full member to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in the Physical Sciences division. She was decorated “Comendador da Ordem Nacional do Mérito Científico” by the Presidency of Brazil in 2002. Belita Koiller is a L’Oréal UNESCO 2005 Laureate for Women in Physical Sciences (Latin America).
She served for 3 years, starting in 1994, as a member of the ICSU Committee on Capacity Building in Science. Since 2005 she has been a member of the Executive Committee of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies, which assists colleagues (scientists and scholars) who suffer repression for having exercised their rights in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2008 she became a member of the IUPAP Commission on Semiconductors.
It is an honor for me to be invited by the APS Nominating Committee to run for the position of International Councilor for the American Physical Society. Although the APS is an American institution, its role in spreading new ideas and current progress in Physics greatly extrapolates the US Scientific Community. The APS meetings, in particular the March Meeting with which I am more familiar, became over the years truly International Meetings, where one can attend presentations on state-of the art science, as well as meet and discuss with colleagues from all continents in the world. In this perspective, an important limitation for citizens of some countries regards the difficulty in obtaining an entry visa to the US. Sometimes, even when the visa is granted, this comes too late to allow participation during the appropriate period. I know the APS is alert to that and I am aware of its efforts to facilitate scientific travel from foreign countries to the US. As an International Councilor, I would join and support this effort.
Another key activity of the APS greatly extrapolating the US Scientific Community are its publications, which of course have a large international impact and allow the International Community to promptly access papers of fundamental interest. As a scientist in Latin America, I value the accessibility (on-line) and visibility these journals give to scientific achievements in both developed and developing countries.
I think that my experience serving as a Councilor for the Brazilian Physical Society for 12 years (three non-consecutive terms), as well as in the ICSU Committee on Capacity Building in Science and the Committee of the International Human Rights, among other Brazilian and International institutions and committees, may help me contribute in many aspects of the discussions in the APS Council, bringing new or complementary aspects affecting the International Physics Community. Also, having established fruitful collaborations with different groups in the US, I would like to encourage foreign students and colleagues to establish mutual collaboration projects with US institutions in Physics. The APS Council seems to be a privileged forum for planning and supporting such activities.